Tropical Medicine in the Gulf of Mexico, Trop-G, is a collaboration of Baylor College of Medicine, Tulane University, and Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán that focuses on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the Gulf Coast states of Mexico and the United States (US). Trop-G is an international consortium with the aim of controlling and eliminating NTDs from this high-risk area. There are unexpectedly high rates of NTDs emerging in both the US Gulf States (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida) and the Mexican Gulf Coast states (Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and QuintanaRoo). NTDs in this region include arbovirus infections such as dengue, chikungunya, and West Nile virus infection; parasitic infections such as Chagas disease, toxocariasis, and trichomoniasis; and selected bacterial infections such as murine typhus and Vibrio vulnificus infections.
It is important to proceed with caution when using the term “emerging” because there is evidence that many of the aforementioned tropical diseases are not new to the region. In fact, the Gulf Coast represents one of the poorest regions of the US, and this extreme poverty together with environmental degradation and a warm subtropical climate are the key factors that allow NTDs to flourish. For similar reasons NTDs—especially vector-borne diseases—are also widespread along the Gulf states of Mexico.
International cooperation between the governments of the US and Mexico and their respective scientific institutions located in the Gulf Coast region is crucial to control and eliminate selected NTDs. In the coming months and years Trop-G aims to work with these biomedical institutions as a means to advance disease control and elimination efforts in the region.